Don’t Blow It Too Early

1 Sep

How pumped is too pumped for deer season?

How pumped is too pumped for deer season?


If you’re a serious whitetail addict like myself then right about now the “fever” is setting in pretty strong. This “fever” can’t be cured by more cowbell, can’t be suppressed by drugs or alcohol, and won’t go away if you ignore it. There’s only one cure, and that’s time spent in a ground blind or treestand with bow in hand. There’s an old story my grandfather told me about a young bull and an old bull that were standing on top of a hill looking down at a heard of cows below. The young bull turns and says “Let’s run down there and have sex with one of those cows.”  The old bull smiles and says “Let’s walk down and have sex with them all.” Although this is a completely inappropriate way to get my point across, I feel it represent how a majority hunters approach their season.

When I was younger and as soon as October 1st rolled around I would cannonball in to the timber like a Viking warrior invading a village. Over the years and several deer-less hunts later, I noticed that jumping in to my best locations too early in the season was counterproductive. I wasn’t using my trail cameras the way I was supposed, I wasn’t properly planning my access routes, and I was calling way to much. I was being blinded by my own excitement. Trail cameras that were once full of nocturnal bucks turned to trail cameras full of no bucks. It took two, maybe three seasons to realize the error of my ways.

Now, I’m not telling you to stop hunting the early season. I’m telling you slow your butt down and think about every decision you make and how it might effect the rest of your season. You should see the reaction I get when I tell people I hunt early season mornings. They just about pass out. I can tell you that I’m not hunting mornings just to hunt mornings. If my trail cameras are showing that one of my hit-list bucks or a group of does are coming through a pinch point or down travel route, I will set up to intercept. Access and wind direction play an important part in this tactic, if the wind is wrong you might have already lost the battle. Don’t push your luck and make the same mistakes I did years ago.

I’m the kind of guy who likes to be in the tree no matter what the conditions are… I love hunting. I use observation stands as much as humanly possible when the conditions are not conducive to making a leap in to your best spot. Your trail cameras can only tell you so much, so any additional info you can get from observing the good areads from a distance is that much more information you can use when it’s time to move in for the kill.

This article isn’t just about the early season. Let’s talk calling for a moment. I have learned this lesson the hard way on more that one occasion. Over the years I have learned to “almost” stop blind calling. I used to be one of those guys who would slam the horns together as soon as it got daylight and continue every 30 minutes to an hour for the rest of the day. If deer could laugh, I imagine they were laughing at me. We all know what deer do before they enter an area, they drop down wind and make sure their nose has the advantage. If you are blind calling, the deer are doing the same thing just outside of you filed of view. So stop blind calling, unless it’s the last day of your rut vacation… then by all means throw the Hail Mary and  light ’em up!

If anything, I hope this article has inspired you to slow down and observe your surroundings before making your final decision. Just an extra minute of thought could save your entire season.

As always, thanks for reading and please post your comments below.

Dan (DFW)

7 Responses to “Don’t Blow It Too Early”

  1. Tom Waters September 1, 2015 at 7:56 pm #

    Great points, Dan!

    Our bow season here in Kentucky begins this weekend and the weather will be brutally hot. So many of our fellow hunters will dive into the woods and educate the deer that the season has begun, only to see a few young deer. To each their own, but if your goal is to harvest or even see a mature deer, you need to be mindful of the old saying “you only have one chance to make a first impression”.

  2. Josh Young September 2, 2015 at 2:49 am #

    I upped my number of trailcams this year, and I’m going to try the approach you and Mark have talked about on your podcast- less hunts, but better weather conditions. Plus, maybe my wife won’t be so pissed that I’m gone all the time. Haha. Good luck this year.

    • Dan Johnson September 2, 2015 at 11:35 am #

      Thanks for reading. Good luck to you as well!

    • Peter North September 17, 2015 at 11:03 pm #

      I hear you brother! I just had my second child and will be employing the same tactic of hunt less and smarter. Since I don’t have a lot of camera pictures this year of mature bucks, I will be hunting locations (where in the past) I have seen some giants in pre rut/ rut time frame on state land here in Iowa. Although it is not an annual pattern of a “know buck”, I believe a dominant buck would of taken over the bedding area- therefore, be in the same locations as past dominant buck… that is my theory anyways…

      Make it a great season!

      And Dan… Hope you guys are successful out west!

      • Dan Johnson September 21, 2015 at 11:59 am #

        Good luck Peter! Keep me posted on how your season turns out.

  3. John bischoff September 3, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    Great analogies! And I am very guilty of being a Viking warrior invading the woods. I will definitely try remember to be the old bull this year. Thanks!

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